Entertainment has seen massive changes over the last few decades, but one of the biggest has been video games becoming the highest-grossing form of entertainment. It is not that films and music don’t make a lot of money. Video games have found more of a home with so many people, and they make the most money. Now, though, we could see significant changes in this industry as it appears there could be a massive strike. The fact that the gaming industry could go on strike has multiple implications for entertainment.
SAG-AFTRA has just voted to put forward a vote to stake video game companies.
This strike is caused by the inability of SAG-AFTRA and the signatory game companies to agree on work opportunities, conditions, and the use of specific tools.
There are ten signatories to the agreement with SAG-AFTRA; many are larger publishes of multiple game studios.
If you have been looking at the news in the last few months, you have undoubtedly seen the recent strike between SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood in general. This strike mainly revolves around issues ranging from pay and royalties to using AI in productions.
The whole situation resulted in a strike when the studios were unwilling to move or change specific issues. This comes from a post on X(formerly known as Twitter) and posted by Culture Crave.
“Now our Interactive Video Game Agreement is at a stalemate too. Once again we are facing employer greed and disrespect. Once again artificial intelligence is putting our members in jeopardy of reducing their opportunity to work. And once again, SAG-AFTRA is standing up to…
This same thing is happening again, but the video game industry is at the center of the negotiations. Now, the studios involved with SAG-AFTRA were given a negotiation very similar to that of movie studios; much like the negotiations with film studios, the guilds and gaming companies could not reach an agreement. This led to the guild board agreeing to propose a strike.
A Deadline article outlined the studios that were signed with the guilds.
Activision Productions Inc
Disney Character Voices Inc
Electronic Arts Productions Inc
Epic Games, Inc
Formosa Interactive LLC
Insomniac Games Inc
Take 2 Productions Inc
VoiceWorks Productions Inc
WB Games Inc
The strike is not set in stone yet, as it must still go through the voting process. This vote will begin on September 1st and end on September 25th. We don’t know if the vote will pass, but in all likelihood, it will for several reasons.
The biggest reason this vote is likely to pass is the argument and issues around AI that have sprung up in the last year. While AI could be a fantastic tool to help crews in various production areas, this is not how studios want to use it.
Instead, they seem to want to use them to replace whole parts of the production crew. Jobs that this has been attempted that we have seen in the last year include voice actors, concept artists, and other creative roles.
The other issues affecting negotiation could be workplace treatment and remote work. Within the last few years, multiple lawsuits have been filed over various harassment claims. However, many people found working remotely more comfortable and productive with the pandemic. It is likely that these were addressed in the negotiations as well but probably received some pushback.
Given that these are all critical issues that affect not only the current work in studios but future work as well, these were probably towards the top of the list. There was almost assuredly some negotiation around payment, but with things like AI, continued work opportunities are at the top of the priority list.
So, will we see the strike go through? There is no honest answer, but it seems likely it will. With a track record of disrespecting workers in some studios and AI threatening many jobs, there is little chance most workers will feel loyalty toward major gaming studios.
So, if we are looking at a strike, what does that mean for the video game industry, and what does it mean for players? There are a few ways this will impact players, ranging from the games about to be released to the games in development. All of this and the games we could see in the future might be affected.
Let’s start this section by addressing how long a potential strike could last. The same Deadline article reported that the last strike in the gaming industry in 2016-2017 lasted for 183 days. It was barely more than half a year, affecting numerous projects.
So, the good news for players is that any games in the polishing stage will likely get released. Some dates might be pushed back to accommodate more significant gaps in the release schedule, but they will probably get released, barring any issues.
Any games in development are likely to grind to a halt, though, if the strike goes through. Too much work would need to be done to them for an actual release, and if their strike does go through, the talent won’t work on the project. So, games like GTA 6 could be in trouble, depending on how much work was left in the game.
Lastly, any projects being considered or just beginning production will be shelved. Depending on the projects, a number could be canceled outright due to the volatile nature of gaming trends and studio interest. So, these games will likely be in danger of never being seen.
As for when we could see new games getting released after the strike, you would be looking at the end of 2024 to the beginning of 2025. Video games take longer to produce than other forms of media anyway, and a delay in the middle would see this being the most likely release range. If the strike were to run longer, though, we could see an even longer pushback time on games.
This is all that we have on the possibility that the gaming industry could go on strike. We will follow the news closely and report new information as it comes out, which will have effects all around the gaming world.
Jace loves both video games and writing, so he thought the best career was to write about video games. He attended Full Sail University and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing. He joined Gamsual in 2022, and when not covering video game news, he is often building and strategizing in simulation and RTS games. Xbox: Alchemist5966